A study has found that visitors to internet sites in the Asia-Pacific region has increased 22% to nearly half a billion, with most individual countries in the region experiencing double-digit growth rates.

The comScore report on the growth of internet audiences in the Asia-Pacific region was based on data from its World Metrix service.

In September 2009 the internet population in the Asia-Pacific region reached 484 million visitors, explained the report, with age groups 15-plus accessing the internet from a home or work location.

With nearly half a billion people online, the region now accounts for 41% of the total 1.2-billion person global internet audience.

China, home to the largest internet population in the world, experienced a 31% increase to 220.8 million, making it the fastest-growing internet country in the region.

Japan saw its online population increase 18% to 68.3 million, while India climbed 17% to 35.8 million users.

“With most markets in the region experiencing double-digit growth, marketers and advertisers have the opportunity to capitalise on the potential of the online channel to reach and engage a surging number of people engaging in a variety of consumer activities online, including reading content, watching video, playing online games, engaging with brands, conducting financial transactions and making online purchases,” said Will Hodgman, comScore executive vice president for the Asia-Pacific region.